Small error re neutrons in atoms

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Greg Herrington

Joined Nov 8, 2007
1
First, my thanks to the author for the considerable time spent in publishing All About Circuits. Second, in Volume I - DC, Basic Concepts of Electricity, the Static Electricity article tends to imply that all atoms contain electrons, protons, and neutrons, in particular one of the Review statements reads:

"All atoms contain particles called electrons, protons, and neutrons."

While all atoms have electrons and protons, not all have neutrons. For example, the most abundant atom, hydrogen, has one electron and one proton. Perhaps a better Review statement would be:

"While all atoms contain particles called electrons and protons, some atoms contain neutrons as well."

Of course, implementing this suggestion would mean altering the content of the article proper to briefly mention the same sentiment. That I leave that to the author and editors; much thought goes into revising text.

Thanks again for publishing All About Circuits.
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
The article is in reference is: http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_1/chpt_1/1.html

Thanks for the comments Greg. Strictly speaking you are correct that not all atoms have Neutrons, citing Hydrogen as an example (May I point out that only the Protium isotope of Hydrogen, which is by far the most common form, has no neutrons). Not being a chemist I am not sure about other atoms and their composition, I may ask a chemist friend of mine to clarify some of the details. The fact is that the statement as written is incorrect.

I think it is better to look at correcting this inaccuracy.

Dave
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
Dave, let me know the results of your inquiry, and what change you would like to make.
My enquiries seem to confirm my initial suspicions that there is only one example of an atom without neutrons: that is the protium isotope of hydrogen (Hydrogen-1) which is the lightest and most common form. There are to my knowledge two other hydrogen isotopes however these have neutrons present in the nucleus. All other atoms have neutrons.

I will work through the section in the e-book and propose a modification to the text that accounts for this slight inaccuracy.

Dave
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
Dennis, can I suggest you make the following corrections to http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_1/chpt_1/1.html:

Change:

The three fundamental particles comprising atoms are called protons, neutrons, and electrons. Atoms are far too small to be seen, but if we could look at one, it might appear something like this:
To:

The three fundamental particles comprising most atoms are called protons, neutrons, and electrons. Whilst the majority of atoms have a combination of protons, neutrons, and electrons, not all atoms have neutrons; the only example is the protium isotope of hydrogen (Hydrogen-1) which is the lightest and most common form of hydrogen which only has one proton and one electron. Atoms are far too small to be seen, but if we could look at one, it might appear something like this:
And change:

All atoms contain particles called electrons, protons, and neutrons.
To:

All atoms contain particles called electrons, protons, and neutrons, with the exception of the protium isotope of hydrogen.
Please feel free to amend my writing style, but the technical details are accurate.

Dave
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
Since we are nitpicking, 2He also seems to exist: http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v37/i13/p812_1

I didn't know that before google. Maybe there are some other man-made isotopes of the lighter elements without neutrons. Just say naturally occuring isotopes and you will be correct with respect to them all having at least one neutron.
John
Yes I agree with the point John is making regarding man-made isotopes. I'm not a chemist but I'd be curious about the stability of some of the neutronless isotopes made by man. Given that the focus on this section of the e-book is to provide a rudimentary introduction to this topic I would hasten to say that we stick with the correct as offered above, acknowledging there are some further (uncommon) exceptions to the statement. Perhaps it is time we created All About Chemistry!

Dave
 

Dcrunkilton

Joined Jul 31, 2004
422
IN order to exclude the possibility of the short lived artificial He-2 isotope with no neutrons from the very basic level text discussion, I have made the following changes:


Changed from:
The three fundamental particles comprising most atoms are called protons, neutrons, and electrons. Whilst the majority of atoms have a combination of protons, neutrons, and electrons, not all atoms have neutrons; the only example is the protium isotope of hydrogen (Hydrogen-1) which is the lightest and most common form of hydrogen which only has one proton and one electron. Atoms are far too small to be seen, but if we could look at one, it might appear something like this:
To:
The three fundamental particles comprising most atoms are called protons, neutrons and electrons. Whilst the majority of atoms have a combination of protons, neutrons, and electrons, not all atoms have neutrons; an example is the protium isotope of hydrogen (Hydrogen-1) which is the lightest and most common form of hydrogen which only has one proton and one electron. Atoms are far too small to be seen, but if we could look at one, it might appear something like this:


Changed from:
All atoms contain particles called electrons, protons, and neutrons, with the exception of the protium isotope of hydrogen.
To:
All naturaly occurring atoms contain particles called electrons, protons, and neutrons, with the exception of the protium isotope (1H1) of hydrogen.

My reasoning is that I want the text to be technically correct. But, I do not want to complicate the situation by mentioning He-2 in this introductory passage.


The ccumulated changes to Vol 1, DC are up now up at ibiblio
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
IN order to exclude the possibility of the short lived artificial He-2 isotope with no neutrons from the very basic level text discussion, I have made the following changes:


Changed from:
The three fundamental particles comprising most atoms are called protons, neutrons, and electrons. Whilst the majority of atoms have a combination of protons, neutrons, and electrons, not all atoms have neutrons; the only example is the protium isotope of hydrogen (Hydrogen-1) which is the lightest and most common form of hydrogen which only has one proton and one electron. Atoms are far too small to be seen, but if we could look at one, it might appear something like this:
To:
The three fundamental particles comprising most atoms are called protons, neutrons and electrons. Whilst the majority of atoms have a combination of protons, neutrons, and electrons, not all atoms have neutrons; an example is the protium isotope of hydrogen (Hydrogen-1) which is the lightest and most common form of hydrogen which only has one proton and one electron. Atoms are far too small to be seen, but if we could look at one, it might appear something like this:


Changed from:
All atoms contain particles called electrons, protons, and neutrons, with the exception of the protium isotope of hydrogen.
To:
All naturaly occurring atoms contain particles called electrons, protons, and neutrons, with the exception of the protium isotope (1H1) of hydrogen.

My reasoning is that I want the text to be technically correct. But, I do not want to complicate the situation by mentioning He-2 in this introductory passage.


The ccumulated changes to Vol 1, DC are up now up at ibiblio
I concur with the changes (and the spelling correction offered by Mark44). Thanks Dennis.

Dave
 

Dcrunkilton

Joined Jul 31, 2004
422
Yes I agree with the point John is making regarding man-made isotopes. I'm not a chemist but I'd be curious about the stability of some of the neutronless isotopes made by man. Given that the focus on this section of the e-book is to provide a rudimentary introduction to this topic I would hasten to say that we stick with the correct as offered above, acknowledging there are some further (uncommon) exceptions to the statement. Perhaps it is time we created All About Chemistry!

Dave
See Diproton at wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diproton

However, I am not able to determine anything from the reference that jpanhalt quoted:

jpanhalt
Since we are nitpicking, 2He also seems to exist: http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v37/i13/p812_1
 
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